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They took the child

…stolen by Them, they said.

They took the child.
They always take the best.
The youngest. The fairest.
The happiest. The innocent.

They took the child.

Took it to the Sidhe, to the old hawthorn tree by the crossroads. From the cradle of linden and willow, to the cradle of blackthorn, gorse and heather.

They took the child.

Took it, snatched it from its mother, spirited it away. Never to return, never to be seen again, never to grow up.

They took the child.

Replaced it, changed it, leaving a dummy, a doll of grass and bark, a wooden shape. Soulless, motionless, dumb.

They took the child.

Of spite, of envy, of malice. Took it, for its mother was too beautiful, too happy. Took it, for she never believed. Took it to teach her a lesson.

They took the child.

To save it, the old bean fheasa said. To keep it from harm. Never to hurt. Took it to Tir ná n’og, she said, to stay young forever.

Nobody believed.

They took the child to drive the mother mad. And mad she became, her hair turning grey in a single night, her eyes troubled and dark. Silently she cradled the changeling in her arms, and it smiled. Silently she cried- only to laugh, and laughed only to cry.

They took the child.

They drove her mad with their magic, they cursed the village. They cursed the Smith for drinking, the vicar for cursing, the midwives for lying. Death crept in, but first they took the child.

They took the child.

Months came by, and no children were born. Months flew by, and people died. One by one. In their sleep.

They took the child.

The whisper flew in the wind, like unsettled dust. The old bean fheasa shook her head and took the last food she had to the sidhe.

The Lady in green came out, cradling the child in her arms.

You took the child.

Aye. To save it from harm. Look what your folk has done to itself. If we didn’t, it would’ve been dead in a week. She would have smothered him to death. Good thing we took him.

You never took me.

We did. But you wanted to go home. Home you went, but nobody believed you, did they? Go away, old woman.

Give me the babe.

Why should we?

Her eyes flashed.

I am his mother, she said. Give me the child.

Thunder rolled by. The lady put the child down. Gently. Slowly.

Let it find its mother.

The child crept through the grass. The child reached the old woman by the stones. The child looked at her.

Lightning flashed. The mist came.

They took the child.

Somewhere else. Long time ago. But that’s quite a different story.

Published by aneuringwynn

Tarot master, channeler, awenydd and writer

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